Patricia Kay White

January 26, 2018

Patricia Kay (Pat) White, a graduate of Clare High School, passed away peacefully in early December at her home in Ocala, Florida.   She lived a life that was 1-26-18 OBIT White 02colorful, adventurous, and always on her own terms.

Pat leaves behind a loving family, friends around the world, and a reputation as one of the great animal trainers of her generation.

In her long performing career, she starred in circuses throughout North America, Europe, Africa and Asia.  For nearly a decade, she traveled the US as featured star of the five-ring Carson and Barnes Circus.

In the mid-1980s, Pat performed before hometown audiences in Clare.   Her “menagerie” act with the National Circus of Austria – combining lions, tigers, bears, leopards, and a hyena – was a centerpiece of the Grand Festival in Monaco.

The Denver Chapter of Circus Fans of America is named the Patricia White Tent in her honor.

Pat was born November 7, 1955 and grew up in Clare.  Her parents, Dale and Jean White, were proud of her unusual career choice.  So 1-26-18 OBIT Whitewere her older brothers, Tim and Dan. Pat’s two great passions as a young girl were theater and animals, and when she saw a performance of Ringling Brothers /Barnum & Bailey Circus her future was set.  Apprenticing through animal parks and traveling shows, Pat became a skilled master of horses, elephants, and eventually big cats.  She loved her animals deeply, treated them with respect, and enjoyed an almost mystical connection with them.

In a live interview on the Today Show, the host referred to her as a “famous lady lion tamer”, Pat corrected her on air.  “Katie, I am an animal trainer,” she said. “There are no tame lions”.

When not on the road, Pat kept a home in Cody, Wyoming.   In Cody, she learned bronze casting and allowed her own strong artistic talents to bloom.  Her sculpture “Celestial Circus” remains much in demand by collectors, and hinted at her strong spiritual connection to animals and to God.

Pat was preceded in death by her parents.  Her father Dale was proprietor of Whites Jewelers in Clare.  She is survived by her son Nicholas and brothers Tim and Dan White, all of Cody, Wyoming.  “Auntie Pat” was adored by her nieces Sienna, Keara, and Elizabeth.  A memorial was held by her circus friends in Florida, and a family service will be conducted soon in Wyoming.

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